Romans 12:9-16 (New International Version)
9Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
Though early morning is not my best time of day, after a couple of cups of coffee, I managed to fix breakfast, wash the dishes, and usher six children out the door to school before heading for the laundry room. I stopped abruptly at the door and stood gazing in disbelief at the mountain of dirty clothes. Hadn't I just washed three loads yesterday? Sudden tears of frustration stung my eyes. I quickly brushed them away, a bit ashamed of myself, and put the first load in the washer.
Then I continued to tidy up, picking up the morning newspaper and various cups and glasses left from snacks the night before. Soon I found myself in my son's bathroom, scrubbing the tub. Once again the tears insisted on imposing themselves against my will. This time they found little resistance. I was frustrated and discouraged, and my self esteem was about as low as it could get.
It was still morning, but I was tired - tired of the same mess day after day - of washing clothes that only yesterday I had folded and returned to their proper places; of doing the dishes, only to get them out a short time later to reset the table. I was sick of spending hours cooking a meal that was consumed in minutes.
Sitting in the middle of the bathroom floor, sponge and cleanser in hand and tears streaming down my cheeks, I found myself fussing, crying and praying all at the same time.
God in his loving-kindness came to meet me: "I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers mine, you did for me" (Matthew 25:40)
"Lord, even this?", I asked.
"Especially this," he replied. "Who else is gong to do it for me? In all these small ways, you are serving me."
Lovingly reassured and encouraged, I dried my tears and continued to scrub the tub.